Government BIM mandate and official website from 4 April 2016

The government is mandating building information modelling (BIM) level 2 for all centrally procured government projects from 4 April 2016. This includes an obligation on all government departments to produce a complete set of employer's information requirements (EIRs) for every contract.

The government mandate coincided with the launch of an official BIM level 2 website, hosted by the British Standards Institution (BSI). The website hosts official standards and guidance documents, together with:

  • The Construction Industry Council (CIC) BIM Protocol.
  • Uniclass (the unified classification for the construction industry).
  • The National Building Specification (NBS) toolkit.

Mandating BIM level 2 reflects a long-standing commitment that the government first made in its May 2011 Government Construction Strategy. Government activity after 4 April 2016 is likely to focus on delivering its Digital Built Britain initiative, which aims at achieving BIM level 3. However, one other key date for BIM level 2 is 3 October 2016, by when the government expects all its departments to be capable of electronically validating BIM information received from the supply chain.

Enterprise Bill: Institute for Apprenticeships

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a factsheet outlining the measures that will be included in the Enterprise Bill to establish a new body, the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA). The aim is to deliver a "genuinely world-class apprentice programme in the context of the apprenticeship levy", which will support employers to uphold the high quality of apprenticeship standards.

The measures will:

  • Establish a statutory body for the IfA.
  • Give the IfA powers to undertake quality and approval functions in relation to apprenticeship standards and assessment plans.
  • Require the IfA to appoint a majority of employers to its board, to ensure that it is an employer-led body.

Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016 and Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016

The Concessions Contracts Regulations (SI 2016/273) and the Utilities Contracts Regulations (SI 2016/274) will come into force on 18 April 2016.

On 17 March 2016, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) published PPN Information Note 02/16. The note explains that the new rules for utilities and concession contracts will apply to new procurement exercises commenced on or after 18 April, except to the extent set out in the relevant regulations. The CCS will publish further guidance on the changes shortly.

These regulations represent the final part of the implementation of the changes to the public procurement regime.

Public Procurement (Amendments, Repeals and Revocations) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/275)

The regulations will come into force on 18 April 2016, and make various amendments to Acts of Parliament and statutory instruments that are consequential on the coming into force of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) (PCR 2015), the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/274) and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/273). Schedule 1 amends the Greater London Authority Act 1999, the Equality Act 2010, the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Schedule 2 amends the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/1848) amongst others. Schedule 3 of the Regulations contains consequential revocations and repeals.

Of particular note is one amendment made to the PCR 2015 which is likely to make regulation 72 on modifying contracts less accessible.

Government Construction Strategy 2016-2020

On 23 March the government published its Construction Strategy, setting out a new plan to deliver £1.7 billion efficiencies and 20,000 apprenticeships.

The strategy sets out ambitions for smarter procurement, fairer payment, improving digital skills, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing client capability. These themes are consistent with the wider ambitions for industry in Construction 2025, which is being delivered by industry and government through the Construction Leadership Council.

Increased productivity will support government to deliver the £163 billion of planned projects identified in the spring 2016 Government Construction Pipeline.

National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021

In addition to its Construction Strategy, the government also published its National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which brings together the government’s plans for economic infrastructure over the next five years with those to support delivery of housing and social infrastructure.

The NIDP sets out key projects and programmes, and major policy milestones, in each infrastructure sector and includes details of the government’s ongoing work to improve the prioritisation, performance and delivery of infrastructure, including building a skilled workforce, reducing costs and encouraging private sector investment.

The NIDP is underpinned by a refreshed National Infrastructure Pipeline, which shows the size and status of planned public and private investment worth over £480 billion to the end of the decade and beyond, including over £290 billion to 2020-21.

Around 50% of the infrastructure pipeline to 2020-21 will be financed and delivered by the private sector. With this in mind, the government will continue to engage with investors and will produce a dedicated infrastructure finance and investments document later in 2016.